PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/30/2015 – The Temple Owls women’s basketball team opened conference play at McGonigle Hall against the Tigers of Memphis with a 82 – 58 win. It was the fourth straight win for Temple and the fifth in five tries over Memphis. The team came out with a sense of excitement in that this was the start of conference play.
“We were ready,” said Donnaizha Fountain set a career-high with 16 points. “We came back from break thinking this is conference time, and we did what we wanted to do which was have a great start.”
The Owls swarmed over the Tigers (6 – 6, 0 – 1) defensively challenging all passes, then getting out on the fast break for easy baskets. Memphis committed 23 turnovers leading to 35 Temple points. The Owls had 22 fast break points. There were seven Temple players who registered 16 steals, led by Alliya Butts who had 4 and Erica Coville with 3.
“I like the fact we are being aggressive and taking pride and helping each other,” said Cardoza about the defensive effort. “We are not big, but can make up for that with our effort and hustle. It become contagious and everyone wants to be a part of it.”
On offense the Owls had 19 assists on their 34 field goals. For the game Temple was 34- 64 (53.1%). Butts led the way with 21 points. Tonaya Atkinson scored 18 points. Owls leading scorer Feyonda Fitzgerald had 12 points and handed out a team-best 6 assists.
“It shows that she is not just a scorer, she is a play-maker,” Cardoza said about the overall effectiveness of Fitzgerald, “When she has to step up and shoot the basketball, she does. Right now we have a plot of players who are scoring the basketball. I love the fact she is getting assists.”
Memphis shot 39% (23 of 59) with Mooriah Rowser leading the way with 21 points. Team leading scorer Ariel Hearn was held to 4 points, something Cardoza saw as significant.
“When you hold their leading scorer to four points, that’s a big deal, and Fey (Fitzgeralda) guarded her and as a team we guarded her,” said Cardoza.
Memphis trailed by 67 – 41 after three quarters, then won the fourth quarter.
The Cherry and White improve to 7 – 4 overall and 1 – 0 in The American. Over the last four games the Owls averaged 83 points per game. Temple will spend the beginning of the new year in Texas as they visit Houston for a game on January 2, then on to SMU on January 5. They go on the road off a complete game effort Cardoza wanted to see.
“It was a complete game on offense because we didn’t have a bad quarter,” Cardoza said. “On defense when you hold their leading scorer, other people have to shoot the ball, then you’ve done your job.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian